4 Steps to Schedule and Keep More Appointments
Your business needs appointments to thrive and grow. You either make money on every appointment, or you need to keep several appointments (meetings) in order to bring on a new client. In both cases, the straightforward path to business growth is to schedule and keep more appointments.
But that’s easier said than done, right?
You face major challenges, like:
- Bringing in enough prospects who might schedule with you
- Converting enough of those prospects to increase your average bookings
- And making sure they all keep the appointments they schedule
It’s a tough nut to crack, but we’re going to take you through five steps to schedule and keep more appointments. By the end, you’ll have an actionable game plan you can take back to your team.
1. Get more reviews from existing customers, clients, or patients.
You’ve got to spread your good reputation to create more opportunities to book appointments. Online reviews are perhaps the best way to do this.
Why? Here's the research:
- 90% of people read online reviews before deciding to visit a business's website
- Consumers read an average of 10 online reviews for each provider
- 84% of these people trust reviews like personal recommendations from friends and family
Reviews (particularly good reviews) also help you rank higher in Google search results.
So how do you get more online reviews? The same way you get a date—you ask.
After you service a client, ask them for a review.
- Medical providers: After treatment is completed
- Financial services: After their new plan is finalized
- Home services: After you’ve completed the job
- Agencies and consultants: After services are delivered, or after you’ve proven your worth (3-6 months in, usually)
70% of people are willing to leave a review if you ask them, but you’ve got to ask when they can take action. We recommend texting and emailing, possibly multiple times each. Texts tend to grab the most attention and drive the most results (about 600% more than email). You just need a simple message with a link, like:
“[First Name], we enjoyed helping you with [services]. Would you please share your experience with us on [review platform]? Thank you! [website.com/review]”
These reviews will create more opportunities for you to schedule appointments. Then you just have to make sure you can capture those opportunities.
Related: 5 Ways to Gain More Online Reviews
2. Make it easier to schedule appointments from your website.
You are probably missing opportunities every day because people who come to your website to book or ask about an appointment find it too difficult to do so. Few are going to be tenacious in trying to work with you, so you’ve got to hand it to them on a silver platter.
Step #1 is to have a schedule form at the top of your website homepage. If appointments booked is your success metric, it needs to be front and center.
Besides, 34% of people would rather schedule their own appointments instead of calling or leaving a note. This means prompting a website viewer to call you or leaving your call-to-action as just your contact page are sure ways to miss opportunities.
Typeform can help you create online scheduling forms that stand out on your home page and attract customers.
PC: Closet Factory
You can also use SMS Chat to capture interest. It’s a widget that allows customers to text you directly from your website. Any responses go directly to their phone, and you get to keep each other's numbers for follow ups.
This is great for customers who have any questions they want answered before they schedule an appointment. The easier you make it for them to get answers and schedule appointments, the more slots you’ll fill.
3. Set up the next appointment on the spot.
A common problem for appointment-based businesses is pouring time and resources into earning and serving clients once, and then never working with them again. The largest reason this happens is not poor service, lack of budget, or no need for what you do. It’s that no one asks for the next appointment or meeting!
This hurts revenue tremendously, and improving this retention by even 5% can increase profitability by 25% or more. So ask for the next appointment—set up the next time for you and your client to talk or see each other before you part.
You might schedule a client’s next HVAC servicing or tax review, even if those events are six months out. Book the following sales meeting for the same time next week, and the doctor’s visit for the same time next year.
Whatever you’re going to want or need later, set it up as your last item of business now. You can just say, “How’s [time/date] for our next [appointment]?”
4. Remind and confirm again and again.
No shows and missed appointments are perhaps the biggest drain on your revenue. Varying by industry, 15-35% of scheduled appointments never happen. How can you bring that number down?
It starts with basic communications.
- Remind people you have an appointment coming
- Double check it’s still good for them
- Give them the chance for reschedule if not
- Have a human available for that conversation, not just an automation
We recommend texting and emailing to confirm—the day before if the appointment was scheduled within the last few weeks, a week before if it was scheduled months in advance. All you need to say is:
“Hi [First Name], we’re planning to see you on [date at time] for [services]. Is that still good for you?”
Texts are the #1 way people prefer to receive appointment reminders and confirmations. Tools like Zapier can help you integrate your texting and customer management software together to streamline your scheduling workflow. 61% of businesses get better results when they use tools like these to nail their scheduling process.
Your ultimate goal is to keep the appointment cycle continuous.
Keep the process going.
The more people you serve, the more reviews you can get, and the more new clients you can schedule appointments with. It’s a virtuous cycle! But the key to getting any of this benefit is to start actively working toward more appointments.
If you’d like more help, or a breakdown of online tools that will help you, get our free Appointment Scheduling Playbook below.